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Mitchell named as U.S. special envoy to Middle East

Source: Xinhua | 01-23-2009 07:59

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WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday announced that George Mitchell is named by President Barrack Obama as special U.S. envoy for the Middle East.

President Barack Obama looks on as Middle East envoy George Mitchell speaks at the State Department in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama looks on as Middle East envoy
George Mitchell speaks at the State Department in 
Washington, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2009. 
(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

The announcement came in the second working day of Obama as the president. He has vowed for "active engagement in pursuit of Arab-Israeli peace from the beginning of his term."

"The conflict has gone on for so long and has had such destructive effects that many have come to regard it as unchangeable and inevitable, the president and the secretary of state don't believe that," said Mitchell at the appointment ceremony, which also participated by Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden.

"They believe, as I do, that the pursuit of peace is so important that it demands our maximum effort, no matter the difficulties, no matter the setbacks," said Mitchell.

"The key is the mutual commitment of the parties and the active participation of the United States government, led by the president and the secretary of state, with the support and assistance of the many other governments and institutions who want to help," he added.

The envoy quoted Obama as saying that the administration "will make a sustained push, working with Israelis and Palestinians, to achieve the goal of two states, a Jewish state in Israel and a Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security."

Mitchell, former Democratic senator from Maine, 75, was well known for the Good Friday Accord he negotiated between Catholics and Protestants aimed at stemming the long-standing conflict in Northern Ireland in 1998.

Mitchell also served on an international commission that examined the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians in 2000 and wrote in the next year a report that called for a halt to Israeli settlements and greater Palestinian efforts to crack down on terrorism.

The "Mitchell Report" became the basis of the so-called road map peace initiative and the two-state solution for a durable peace between Israel and Palestine.


Editor:Zhang Pengfei